Do Food Stains Prevent the Validity of My Ritual Purity and Prayer?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi

Question

Are ghusl, wudu, and prayer valid if there’s dirt, food stains, etc on one’s clothes?

Kindly note that I’m not talking about najis things like blood etc. Sometimes it may be simple dirt from our body that remains always or the dead skin which comes after scrubbing or the dirt which we get during traveling.

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

I pray this finds you in the best of states.

Yes, food stains or dirt on your clothes don’t prevent the validity of your ritual bath (ghusl), wudu, or prayer. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]

Ghusl and wudu are valid despite this dirt on your clothes because the validity of your ghusl and wudu is completely independent of the state of your clothes. Rather the validity of your ghusl and wudu relies on whether or not you have used purifying water to wash all the limbs needed to be washed fully without yourself being in a state of menstruation or postnatal bleeding and with the skin of your body being free from any physical barrier preventing the water to reach the skin, such as wax. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]

Allah, Most High, says:  “O you who believe when you rise for the prayer wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. If you are in a state of major impurity, cleanse yourselves well (by taking a bath).” [Quran, 5:6]

As you can see, there is no mention of the state of your clothes when it comes to a valid ghusl or wudu.

As for the validity of your prayer not being prevented by dirt or food stains, this is because dirt or food stains are not legally filthy.

Examples of legal filth include urine, excrement, and so forth. These are the type of things that could prevent the validity of your prayer if found in a sufficient quantity on your body, clothes, or the place where you are praying.

Please see this answer for more details on this issue:
What Are the Things Deemed Filthy in the Hanafi School?

As for dirt and food stains, even in huge quantities, they won’t prevent the validity of your prayer. Nonetheless, general cleanliness is an integral part of the sunna and one should fulfill it without excess.

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani